The melody for the Beatles’ classic 1965 hit “Yesterday” reportedly came to Paul McCartney in a dream, and has since inspired more than 1,600 cover versions. But last week, Anthony Kulkamp Dias may have one-upped even McCartney himself when he played the song during brain surgery.
reports that Dias, a 33-year-old Brazilian bank worker and professional musician for the last 20 years, played a handful of songs throughout his surgery to stay awake, including several Brazilian country songs and an original composition titled “Emanuel,” a tribute to his newborn son. “My right hand was a bit weaker because that was the side that they were operating on,” Dias told Brazilian news site G1. “So I stopped and rested. I was interspersing songs and talking with them.”
Dias discovered he had a brain tumor a few months ago, just 15 days after the birth of his son, according to the Telegraph. It had progressed to the point that he could barely pronounce the name of his car. Doctors performed an innovative new type of surgery that allowed them to map Dias’ brain while he was awake, thereby preventing injuries during the operation. “By keeping the patient awake during surgery, these areas can be monitored in real time,” said Dr. Jean Abreu Machado, clinical director for Nossa Senhora da Conceição hospital. “It really is a great challenge for the whole surgery team, including the anesthetist.”
Although Dias’ unconventional approach helped keep him awake, it also entertained everyone in the operating room. “The doctors asked me to repeat one of the country songs, so I even had an encore,” he said.
Dias was scheduled to be discharged on Wednesday. To riff on the beloved McCartney Tune: his troubles looked as though they were here to stay, but now they seem so far away.